Wakeland thriving off sense of community

FORT WORTH, Texas -- During the Frisco Wakeland girls soccer team’s run to a state championship in 2010, the front few rows at every playoff game were filled by the boys soccer team doing whatever they could to will their schoolmates to victory. It was the least they could do after receiving the same support a year earlier when they brought a boys state trophy back to soccer-crazy Frisco.

The success that has come from the sense of pride in the Wakeland community is exactly what boys soccer head coach Rusty Oglesby spoke about Monday at the Texas High School Coaches Association Coaching School.

Wakeland opened its doors in 2006, but has quickly become a powerhouse in the area in several sports, thriving off a strength-in-numbers motto.

“We knew we were going to get good athletes, but you still have to get those kids to play for you and you’re still competing against club and all those things,” Oglesby said “We just really developed that, ‘When you play one of us, you play all of us’ motto.”

Community is what Oglesby preached to fellow coaches from around the state, not only in developing a successful program, but co-existing with the very successful club soccer system that thrives in North Texas.

Oglesby’s key to managing a successful high school program while juggling players between his games and club games is giving his players something he said club rarely offers -- personal attention and care.

The most important part of that personal attention to Oglesby, in terms of soccer, is bringing the recruiting process back to the high schools. Currently, club teams own a monopoly in the scholarship game, hosting tournaments where college coaches with limited budgets can scout hundreds of players at one time. Traveling to see one player play in one high school game is out of the question for many programs at the next level.

Oglesby begins each season purchasing a large amount of DVDs which he and his coaching staff gladly work overtime burning and sending away game film to any and every college program any of his players wish to attend. It’s a process he learned well while spending time as a football coach before turning to soccer at Wakeland.

“When it comes down to it, you better be doing the other stuff,” Oglesby said. “You better be calling about their GPAs and how good they are in a classroom, and you better send them DVDs and show them all the things they are missing if they don’t come watch.”

Wakeland has seen the fruits of Oglesby’s labor, sending 21 players to college on soccer scholarships in the past three years, including all 10 seniors from the 2010-2011 season.

“To me it became how can I supplement club -- how can I lead them in the recruiting process,” Oglesby said.